Roha Medical Campus, a World-Class Hospital in Ethiopia, Gets $42 Million First Injection

Initial equity is part of $130 million first-phase investment in Roha Medical Campus

Ethiopia on $5 billion African medical tourism map with one of most significant healthcare developments

Africa’s second-largest nation has acute need for hospital capacity, with only 6% of beds required: WHO

In a milestone for one of Africa’s biggest healthcare developments, Roha Medical Campus (RMC) announces it has received fresh investment from shareholders for a major new advanced multispecialty hospital in Addis Ababa, bringing total initial capital to US$42 million.

The equity funding represents the first tranche of a US$130 million investment to build phase 1 of Roha Medical Campus, a 350-bed world-class hospital. Additional shareholder funding as well as US$70 million in debt led by a development finance institution are earmarked for the first half of 2024. Already midway through construction, the first hospital is due to open in 2025, with a further US$200 million investment planned to expand the campus to include additional specialized hospitals and medical facilities, as well as a teaching, research, and innovation hub.

Located less than a kilometer from East Africa’s busiest international airport, the hospital puts Addis Ababa on the map for the continent’s US$5 billion-a-year medical tourism industry while stemming Ethiopia’s US$500 million annual healthcare outflow. Currently the standard connector for Africans flying to South Asia or the Middle East for medical care, Ethiopian Airlines’ Addis Ababa Bole International Airport will soon become the gateway to one of the most significant health treatment hubs on the continent.

Designed to be Ethiopia’s first JCI-accredited1 hospital, Roha Medical Campus will alleviate an acute shortage of advanced medical facilities and healthcare services for Africa’s second largest nation and patients in the region. With over 4,000 medical, administrative and ancillary staff, RMC will provide many pioneering treatments that are brand new or limited in availability locally and across Africa. Alongside emergency treatment and routine care focused on comprehensive and preventative medicine, specialty treatments will include orthopedics, neurosurgery, spine treatment, interventional cardiology, cardiac surgery, endovascular interventions, nuclear medicine, and oncology treatments.

At least three-quarters of patients are expected to be Ethiopian, and Roha Medical Campus has committed to receiving significant numbers of referrals from the government health system at discounted rates. Ethiopia’s hospitals currently have only 6% of the total hospital beds required, significantly below East African peers, according to the World Health Organisation.2

“It is critical for us to ensure that treatment is widely available across all communities,” said Welela Haileselassie, General Manager of Roha Medical Campus. “Living in Ethiopia, you hear too often of people who suffer without access to treatment. This is not right, it’s not equitable. This hospital will change lives and save lives.”

In addition to advancing healthcare outcomes, Roha Medical Campus will support economic development through expanding inbound medical tourism as a potential key driver of much-needed foreign exchange. RMC will also advance Ethiopian Airlines’ already dominant position in African medical tourism and drive increased traveler volumes, as well as visitors to the airline’s 5-star Skylight Hotel, less than a kilometer from the campus.

“Ethiopia is the right place for transformative African healthcare investment,” said Brooks Washington, Executive Chairm of Roha Medical Campus, and a partner of Roha Group, RMC’s founding investor. “Ethiopian Airlines’ global connectivity strengthens the case for medical tourism and ensures strong US dollar revenue for the hospital. This is complemented by a fast-growing local population in need of better care and the government’s support of environmentally sustainable and impactful projects. Combined, this makes RMC an incredibly exciting prospect and a very promising investment.”

Demand for specialty healthcare among Ethiopia’s 126 million people has been increasing as a result of a growing middle-class, the impact of rapid urbanization and changing lifestyles, and the expanding presence of major international organisations in Addis Ababa, including the African Union and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa. Roha Medical Campus will reduce costs and increase accessibility relative to other local hospitals and comparable international medical tourism packages.

Public medical organizations in Ethiopia have historically focused on the acute need to expand healthcare to rural communities, control epidemics such as HIV and tuberculosis, and improve vaccination rates against communicable diseases. However, there is now an increased need to also treat heart disease, cancer, strokes, chronic respiratory disease, and diabetes, among other non-communicable diseases (NCDs). Deaths from NCDs in Ethiopia are nearly twice the average rate in developed nations, at 553 per 100,000 people, accounting for more than 50% of deaths in the country. Over half are below the age of 40.3 The high mortality rate is primarily due to a lack of adequate infrastructure, including a shortage of skilled workers and unreliable supply chains for medicines and other essential products, says Dr. Senait Beyene, Deputy General Manager for Healthcare at RMC.

“NCD treatment is resource-intensive, demanding sophisticated infrastructure, high-quality supplies and medications, and skilled healthcare professionals,” said Dr. Senait. “To address these issues, RMC will offer personalized, holistic and comprehensive care for diagnosing, treating, and following up with patients, ultimately improving health outcomes and long-term quality of life for individuals with NCDs.”

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